Sen. Baldwin opens up about mother's opioid addiction

APPLETON, Wis. -

Inside a room at the Appleton Public Library, are seven women with different stories, but one common theme: all have been impacted by opioids in some way.

Some of their stories consisted of family members suffering from addiction. Others opened up about their personal battles.

Senator Tammy Baldwin says she can relate.

"I would wonder sometimes when my grandparents would pick me, and when I go home, she wouldn't be okay when I was gone, and that was scary for me,” said Baldwin.

For the first time, she's talking publicly about her mother's opioid addiction.

"I saw her spiral out of control a number of times, including since I was in the senate."

Her mother died last year.

“There are others who have walked in their shoes. They don't have to keep it a secret. They can open up and ask others for help,” said Baldwin.

Baldwin was raised by her grandparents but never told people why.

"My life experiences has brought me to public service, because I don't want other people to struggle the way my mother did or the way I did as my mother's daughter,” said Baldwin

Baldwin's Republican critics have hammered her for not responding quickly to reports of over-prescription of opioids and other drugs at the veteran’s hospital in Tomah.

Three people died. Baldwin sponsored a bill to change the way opioids are handed out at facilities for veterans, and she says there's more to do to fight these drugs.

"Sharing our stories is how we make change.” said Baldwin.

If you or someone you know is currently battling addiction, you can call 1-888-506-2153

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